Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Adventure into Polymer Clay

I grew up in central Pennsylvania, right by Penn State and just over the mountain from a number of Amish communities. So, when Iron Craft presented this week's Hometown challenge, I wondered what I should do. Should I do something with some of the PSU fabric I've been saving? Should I make some whoopie pies? Then, I got to thinking about one of the other projects I've been thinking about even longer than the wire angels

The little town of Boalsburg isn't far from Penn State either.  This little town claims to be the birth place of Memorial Day (there are other towns that make that same claim, but that's another story!).  Every year they close down the streets in Historic Boalsburg for a craft show and festival on Memorial Day weekend.  Many years ago there was a person who sold polymer clay figures of Amish boys and girls every year at this festival.  I always looked at them, admired them but being in High School, I really wasn't into spending money on something like that.  The one year that I decided I was finally going to buy one, I went and the vender wasn't there and I haven't seen them there since then (although I haven't gone every year, since I no longer live in the area).

So, for Iron Craft's hometown challenge, I decided to try making a little Amish girl out of polymer clay.  I have NOT worked with polymer clay much at all. I used it to make some handprint keepsakes for my mom and mother in law when the girls were babies, but that's about it.  I couldn't find the Sculpey that I had bought for this project several years ago, so I ran to Michaels and bought some Craft Smart Polymer clay in purple, black and a fleshy color.  I took a few pictures of my process.

First I took two balls of the purple clay, about the size of a walnut.


Then, one I mushed slightly to make it more wedge shaped. the other I rolled out into a trapezoidal like shape (it doesn't need to be perfect).


Then, I took the trapezoide one and draped it over the wedge and kind of made some gathers at the top.


Next, I took some more purple and made a snake out of it and then placed it across the top.


Then, I switched to the black clay. I rolled it out and used a toothpick to trace the outline of an apron.


Then, I draped the apron over the body. The bib part of the apron ended up being big enough to go over the top and down the back to the waist. I tried to smooth out all the seams.


Next I rolled a ball of the flesh colored clay and put it on top for the head  Then, I rolled out some more black and roughly covered the head with it.  I added another piece (which was a ball that I'd rolled out and cut the edge off of) for the brim.  The head didn't seem like it was too stable, so I took a tooth pick and stuck it down through it into the body and covered over that part with clay again to hide it.


I took two really small balls of purple, flattened them and put them at the end of each sleeve for cuffs.  Then, I took two small balls of flesh colored clay and put them on the ends of the cuffs for hands and brought them together in front.

Then, I baked it following the instructions on the clay wrapper.

Here's a picture of the finished girl.

Amish Girl

She looks nothing like the ones I saw at the craft show, so I'll still keep looking for one like that, but this was a fun project.  The Crafter's Choice clay seems to soften up easier than the Sculpey did which makes it easier to work with.  One thing I didn't think about was washing my hands in between working with the black and working with the flesh colored clay.  As a result, the flesh color ended up with some black in it.  Lesson learned.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Iron Craft's next challenge will be.


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